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2004 new car guide, model guide, new car reviews, by brand


Volvo, largest automaker in Sweden and under the corporate umbrella of Ford Motor Company, designs and constructs sturdy vehicles capable of surviving harsh Scandinavian winters while still coddling passengers in comforts typical of deluxe European touring cars.

Volvo's line for year 2004 consists of models in five alphanumeric orders with new gear accumulating in all classes. In Volvo nomenclature, S represents a sedan, C stands for the convertible, V signifies a five-door wagon and XC means outdoor versatility vehicle. Platforms use two-digit numbers to denote size in descending order from the Volvo SUV at 90 to mid-size 80, 70 and 60 series sedans and wagons and the compact 40 cars.

Leading the line is an updated version of the S80 sedan, elegant flagship for Volvo's fleet. S80 rolled out five years ago on the adaptable P2 platform with curvaceous styling surrounding a luxurious cabin trimmed in leather and fit for five, a powertrain naturally aspirated or turbo-charged and some of the most advanced automotive safety systems on the planet.

New issues for 2004 represent the next step in the car's development as a fresh shape for the package hones it to a sleek expression of Scandinavian design. It also carries active chassis management in a new high-tech system that Volvo labels the FOUR-C, for Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept. The equipment, connected through sensors to a Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system, becomes the latest S80 option.

Last year Volvo unwrapped a mid-size sport-utility wagon dubbed the XC90, with turbo-charged power and optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction. It returns in 2004 with new packages of equipment plus optional metallic body paint and a DVD-based navigation system.

The 70 series estate wagons include the 2.4, 2.5T, 2.5T AWD and T5 variants, along with the limited-production V70 R performance wagon. Another 70 series model continues with the C70 convertible.

S60 sedans use the variable-size platform of S80 and V70 yet measure inches less in wheelbase and body length. This year there are five models with the front-wheel-drive (FWD) S60 2.4 and S60 2.5T, S60 2.5T AWD, S60 T5 and racy S60 R with a 300-hp turbo-charged engine. Volvo's compact-class sedan and wagon -- S40 and V40 -- show a new sport package plus tail spoiler and optional equipment.

Volvo S80
2004 Volvo S80

Volvo's flagship series represents the largest sedan in the line and the most luxurious. Body styling has been revamped with the three-dimensional prow flashing new fascia, foglamps, grille and headlamp clusters with highlights gleaming in chrome and dark silver finishes.

At the tail, the trunk deck has been reshaped in single-piece construction and rear lamps pared in scale with brake lamps switching to light-emitting-diode (LED) technology. Changes in the cabin relate to revamped instruments, fresh materials and optional trimmings in aluminum or wood.

Active safety tools, designed for use by an alert driver to move the S80 away from imminent danger, include quick-action rack and pinion steering system now using a steering gear from ZF of Germany for more direct feel in the steering response. Disc brakes connect to anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist (BA) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD), traction control (TCS) and the optional DSTC equipment plus FOUR-C shock damping.

That device regulates actions for the shock absorber at each wheel through electronic damping that changes as much as 25 times every second, switching from soft to hard to soft again in an effort to isolates the movement of each tire for less bounce, vibration and noise. The system ultimately produces a flatter and smoother ride quality with more precise handling traits, regardless of the vehicle's speed or its on-board load.

For powertrains, Volvo has two in-line-six options. The S80 2.9 carries an aluminum six-pack that displaces 2.9 liters. It's naturally-aspirated and produces 194 hp. The S80 T6 uses a light-pressure twin turbo to achieve high torque at relatively low engine speed without the typical annoying turbo lag. It makes 268 hp. Electronic automatic transmissions employ adaptive gear shift patterns to nix the need for separate economy and sport modes. A new top trim for 2004 emerges with the T6 Premier. It contains a DVD-based video entertainment system designed for viewers in rear seats with a DVD player in the center console and two liquid-crystal-display (LCD) color monitors planted in the back of headrests of front buckets.

Read our Review: Volvo S80


Volvo C70
2004 Volvo C70

New body paint -- Passion Red -- goes on 2004 editions of Volvo's mid-size convertible, while a new interior theme called Volcano Red adds bold red leather seats.

The body of this vehicle amounts to a two-door coupe design, although the actual coupe edition is history while the pop-top continues with two engine choices. The interior, arranged with twin front buckets and two rear positions, emphasizes luxury and comfort. A driver-oriented cockpit adds power controls for all equipment, including dual climate zones and electrochromic rearview mirror. To reach the rear area, front seat slides forward under power when the backrest is moved.

Engines include a high-pressure turbo-charged 2.3-liter in-line-five worth 242 hp or the base 2.4-liter five-cylinder light-pressure turbo scored to 197 hp. An automatic five-speed works for either engine but the high-pressure turbo also offers an optional manual five-speed.

Volvo's convertible has more passive and active safety systems than most coupes and sedans -- side air bags, pillars and doors reinforced with Boron steel, and rollover protection from steel hoops that pop up behind the rear seat head restraints if on-board sensors detect a potential roll.

Volvo V70
2004 Volvo V70

An estate wagon of mid-size dimensions from Volvo has a flexible seat design for up to seven riders and an expandable cargo compartment. Posh appointments dot the cabin, with power-operated controls and a high caliber of equipment in the mode of European touring sedans.

Entry comes with the V70 2.4 packing a naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter in-line-five rated at 165 hp and tied to a manual five-speed or optional five-speed electronic automatic. The FWD V70 2.5T gains a more powerful 2.5-liter light-pressure turbo five for 208 hp through a five-speed automatic with optional Geartronic shifting -- the same plant that works on V70 2.5T AWD model. And a FWD V70 T5 stocks a 2.3-liter five high-pressure turbo worth 247 hp with either the five-speed automatic or manual five-speed.

However, the quickest Volvo wagon has to be the V70 R. It has the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine primed with turbo-charger and twin inter-coolers to turn out 300 hp. A six-speed close-ratio manual or five-speed Geartronic automatic go to the R car, which also stocks Volvo's FOUR-C suspension controller and 13-inch disc brakes by Brembo.

Volvo XC70 2.5T
2004 Volvo XC70

Formerly called Cross Country and XC AWD, this estate wagon variation off the V70 ties with the XC90 as a Volvo outdoor versatility vehicle. XC70 2.5T is hiked in suspension so it can travel over non-paved terrain, then outfitted with four-wheel traction from the Haldex system.

Haldex, a Swedish pioneer in AWD mechanisms, builds an active-on-demand system with power split between front and rear wheels through a wet multi-plate clutch. Structural elements and mechanical hardware come from the V70, although the XC70 stretches an inch longer and is wider because the front wheel track increases by several inches. It's also almost three inches taller due to the elevated chassis.

Safety gear includes standard Volvo's side impact protection system (SIPS) with side air bags plus curtain-style air bags positioned above side windows. Bi-xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and ZF rack and pinion steering are new for 2004. Muscle to propel XC70 2.5T stems from V70 2.5T with Volvo's 2.5-liter light-pressure turbo for 208 hp.

Volvo XC90
2004 Volvo XC90

Volvo's XC90 sport-utility wagon is svelte in package design, expansive in cabin size -- with optional third-row seats for a capacity of as many as seven passengers -- and equipped with powerful engines and sophisticated safety systems plus optional AWD traction.

Built off the P2 platform that underpins Volvo's mid-size models, the XC90 rides and drives more like a car than a lumbering sport-ute, despite its hulking size. It can be quick and enthusiastic too, particularly with the light-pressure twin turbo 2.9-liter in-line-six out of S80 T6, which delivers 268 hp. This plant brings the Geartronic stick on a four-speed automatic.

Volvo XC90

Base powertrain is the light-pressure turbo 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine from V70 2.5T, rated at 208 hp and keyed to a five-speed automatic. Optional AWD traction is the electronically-controlled Haldex system.

Extensive safety systems go into XC90, including frontal air bags and side-impact air bags for front riders plus Volvo's side curtain-style air bags reaching to the third row of seats. In addition to the DSTC yaw-control system aboard, Volvo overlays that device with a Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS). It has on-board sensors to detect when the vehicle begins to roll, then counteracts that body movement by activating brakes and forcing an understeer maneuver to stem the roll.

Packages bring more gear -- a premium group with leather seats and power moonroof, the climate kit with heated front seats and rainsensor windshield wipers, and a versatility package with the third-row seat and separate climate controls.

Volvo S60
2004 Volvo S60

Sandwiched in size between mid-size S80 and compact-class S40, Volvo's S60 sedans ride on the variable-size platform employed by S80 and V70.

A stylish passenger compartment contains rich appointments in an understated cabin with muted tone-on-tone colors. The conventional layout sets two bolstered buckets beside a multi-purpose console and ahead of a bench with three seat positions. However, optional two-place seating in sculpted spaces is available for the rear.

Five-cylinder engines out of the V70 wagons also work on S60 with a naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter plant plus a light-pressure turbo 2.5-liter variation for 208 hp and the high-pressure turbo for 247 hp. The latter shows up in S60 T5 with choices of manual or automatic shifter. S60 AWD with increased chassis height stocks the light-pressure turbo 2.5-liter plant. It also uses Volvo's five-speed Geartronic automatic with the Haldec electronic AWD system.

The rack and pinion steering system for all 60 sedans switches to ZF steering gear, and bi-xenon HID headlamps are now optional.

Also, Volvo's fastest car returns to the series as the S60 R, a sports sedan with equipment for high performance. The R car takes the 2.5-liter turbo five-pack with twin inter-coolers added to muster 300 hp and bring home quick times -- only 5.4 seconds for a run from zero-to-sixty. Transmission for S60 R is either the five-speed Geartronic automatic or a close-ratio six-speed manual.

Alloy wheels of 17-inch diameter are the standard as capped by Pirelli performance tires, although 18-inchers are available.

Volvo S40/V40
2004 Volvo V40

A new Limited Sport Edition Package for Volvo's compact-class cars appears strictly in body tints of Black Sapphire, Virtual Blue or Silver, with production restricted to only 2500 units. The package adds spoilers front and rear, leather lining seats and steering wheel, chromium rings around gauges in the instrument panel, stainless steel scuff plates and a power moonroof.

Volvo's compacts consist of the S40 sedan and V40 wagon, each exhibiting styling points that look similar to the flagship sedan only in a smaller scale. The format amounts to a basic wedge-shaped shell with high-hiked tail and low-canted prow marked by the boxy chrome grille evident on all Volvos.

Both sedan and wagon add up to the same external dimensions and ride on the same compact platform with a transverse-mounted front engine pushing power to the front wheels. Interiors configure differently behind the front seats due to a flexible seat arrangement in the wagon.

The aluminum four-cylinder engine displaces 1.9 liters and achieves 170 hp. Extensive features for safety and security go into these smallest Volvos, such as frontal air bags plus seat-mounted side air bags. Also, Volvo's DSTC may be added.



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